Contrary to what
readers might imagine, my views of the current horror in Israel and the West Bank are not nearly black and white. What makes this tragic and not just terrible is that this current ratchet of flesh-rending and hopelessness is tied to mistakes -- some avoidable, some unavoidable, many fatal -- which both sides made over the last decade. And yet now those errors are layered over with so much mutual atrocity that the original errors are not only unrecoverable but in a sense irrelevant. After the recent surge in hideous suicide attacks on civilians, I don't see how the Israelis can do anything else but allow a non-holds-barred attack on the perpetrators. And it is equally difficult to imagine that the Palestinians can or will do anything but attack back.
One thing that seems regrettably undeniable is that President Bush, though bearing no responsibility for the origins of the crisis, is utterly unprepared to confront it.